Emma Coulter, a senior at La Center High School, has been awarded the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award, which is the highest award a scout can achieve. She received it for building four community book shares that have been placed around Battle Ground, La Center and Brush Prairie.
Coulter’s mother, Anne, describes her as a curious child who always had a penchant for science and art. She was homeschooled until she reached middle school, which required the family to move and travel heavily. She fully transitioned to public school after using River HomeLink for partial homeschooling. After living in Battle Ground for a few years during high school, the family moved again to La Center, where they currently reside today.
Being a Girl Scout for nine years, Coulter’s motivation for building the book shares was out of her love for the children of the community.
“I just wanted a way to promote literacy and I thought it would be a fun way to get kids outside,” Coulter said. “I’ve always enjoyed seeing book shares, so I thought it would be fun to put them in our community.”
Coulter’s mother Anne got her into Girl Scouts because she used to be a Girl Scout herself. She felt it would be a good socialization activity, since Coulter was homeschooled at the time.
She built the book shares by hand utilizing plywood with the help of her father and another girl in her troop. The project took eight months of dedicated labor and a lot more went into it than simply building the structures.
“She started working on it in January and it was an ongoing project because she had to reach out to people in the community to find locations and do research on how to build them, and figure out what materials to use,” Anne said. “The original materials she started with failed. She was trying to do recycled wood and it just wasn’t holding up to her liking, so she ended up using plywood, which worked out better.”
Besides the book shares, Coulter has also received bronze and silver awards for community-based activities like repainting part of the playground at River HomeLink, sewing bags and filling them with toys for foster children, and sewing pillowcases for children in the hospital.
Aside from Girl Scouts, Coulter is also a varsity softball player and a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to continue onto college in either Oregon or Washington with a focus in science.
The book shares can be found at these addresses:
• 111 E. Fifth St., La Center (La Center Evangelical Free Church)
• 2111 SW 11th St., Battle Ground
• 307 SW SW 19th St., Battle Ground
• 11104 NE 149th St., Brush Prairie